Apologies in advance to all those following this journal who have no interest in wargaming. I’m planning on helping a few people who are get up to speed on what’s going on (industry in general, and my own purchases/interests). To start off with, I’m going with a company that has accounted for a fair amount of the available time/dollar budget.

When Task Force Games went under, ADB (owned by Steve Cole, the original designer of some of TFG’s better early games) got the full rights to Star Fleet Battles and the other games in the same universe. Currently there’s three board games, a card game, and a line of RPG setting books (using other companies’ licensed rules).

I have a… large collection of SFB materials (not quite everything I want, but more than I will probably ever need). And my little group has been playing on a “historical progression” idea to try and show how the ships change over time. We started in Y135, and are now in Y152. I’d like to get back to it, but right now other games are taking up the FtF attention (which certainly isn’t bad either).

Currently, the next products out the door for SFB are going to be R11, G3 and Omega 5. ‘Omega‘ is an alternate setting/locale for SFB that is slowly being fleshed out in a series of modules. The ‘G’ series are all updates of each other, and are just the ‘annexes’ (various informational charts) of SFB all collected together. R11 is (yet another – being the 11th after all) collection of new ships. It’s subtitled “Support Ships” and should be out for Origins (the counters for this and a bunch of other stuff goes to press… today, I believe). I’m not sure if there’s any more specific focus (there’s usually a couple of ‘new classes’ to tie things together) beyond frigate-sized transports for everyone.

Products that seem likely to get published within the next, oh, say, two years are Y2 (early years), X1R (additional X-ships), and Star Fleet Assault (actually a new game on ground combat in the Star Fleet Universe). The last has been sitting around for a while, and SVC didn’t think it’d sell, but a recent poll of customers and retailers changed his mind.

Also, they recently ran out of counter sheets for C1, and are printing up new ones in a new prettier style. I plan on getting the new sheet the next time I order from them.

Federation & Empire is the strategic game with the same basic setting. There’s currently five fairly substantial expansions to what starts as a pretty large game. I actually have all five, making it their only game that I’m truly ‘caught up’ on. I’ve done a Vassal module for it, and am hoping to get a couple people playing it with me this year. ^_^

There’s no new products immediately coming out, which is just as well, I’m still trying to (mentally) catch up on it all. The ‘next big thing’ should be ISC War, which instead of adding new complications to the General War of the main set, is going to be about the conflict that happened immediately afterward.

And that brings us to their new game, Federation Commander. It’s much the same as SFB, but designed to be as light and fast-playing as possible while keeping the ‘core’ concepts. They spent the effort to make the presentation as sharp as possible (no black and white forms in a day of easy color printing), and it has been selling very well for them. I haven’t gotten it yet, but that’s lack of funds and time, not interest, for it looks and sounds very well done. There’s an avalanche of different products out for it, from the main sets, to large packs of extra ships and counters and mapboards, to small packs of extra ships (SSDs). They present a ‘group’ of related races in stand-alone box sets, and the third one Distant Kingdoms (featuring the Hydrans and Lyrans) is underway for… Origins? Not sure. The Klingons and Romulans were naturally the focus of the first two box sets.

In addition to everything else, they recently released Federation Commander: Academy which is a cut-down version of the Klingon set for less than half the price. Graduation then provides everything in Klingon Border that isn’t in Academy so that you don’t end up repurchasing everything.

Captain’s Log #35 just came out about a week ago, and they’re now offering a couple new options. You can order it (direct from them only) in a ‘large type’ format (10 point instead of 9…); it’s not formated for it, so articles run over into extra pages which are otherwise blank. Also, you can now spend a little extra and get an extra copy of the SSDs not bound into the issue, so they can be organized and copied easier. I’m currently about four issues behind on the Log, and plan to stick with the normal version for now.

Oh, and while I’m here, happy(?) D-Day everyone!